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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Chicago vs. PETA: The First Offense!

Before reading this, you might want to catch up by reading the previous parts of this Chicago vs. PETA series:

PART 1: Chicago Bans Food and PETA is to Blame
PART 2: Chicago vs. PETA: The Foie Gras Debate!
PART 3: Chicago vs. PETA: The Lawsuit!
PART 4: Chicago vs. PETA: The Uprising!

And join us in the fifth installment of a series of posts that (in the opinion of the writer) should never have come to be. And PETA is to blame; they shock-videoed the Chicago City Council into agreeing to sign a law banning foie gras from the city. In the second part, I discussed the studies and FACTS proving that the reasons BEHIND the law are unfounded and not based on any facts at all. In the third part I got to speak of the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) who believes so strongly in this cause that it's practically paying for both sides of the legal battle, based on the fact that it's unconstitutional to make a city law overturning something the federal government approves, let alone deciding what people can/cannot eat. In the fourth part I got to talk about the restaurants fighting back and how more were serving foie gras than ever once the law took effect. In this fifth part, we'll learn about the first victim of the law.

The first known offender of the foie gras ban has been reported. His warning letter will be in the mail eventually.

The offense was anonymously reported on Friday night as someone called the 311 non-emergency system and complained that foie gras was being served at Block 44, a Lincoln Square restaurant. The chef, Rick Spiros, acknowledged that he had indeed served about 8 orders of foie gras that night - even though he knew that the ban was in place and it was illegal to do so. his reasoning was that he wasn't trying to be one of the uprising restaurants or anything, he was simply trying to avoid wasting the very expensive food. And the very BEST way to do that - is to sell it to hungry restaurant patrons.

Says Rick Spiros, "I had a couple pieces left over, and I just got rid of it. I just did it. I'm a bad chef, I guess. People loved it. People bought it. One person complained? I'll take the slap on the wrist. I'm not in fourth grade. I had the decision to make, and I served it."

He claims this was a one-time thing and now that his foie gras has been sold and enjoyably eaten, he doesn't plan on buying anymore and continuing to violate the new law. Even so, he certainly doesn't SUPPORT the law. "There are so many other things to worry about...there's graffiti on my door, no one cares about that. We all live here." He also added that "It's ridiculous. There's far too many things going on in this town to worry about a duck liver. I don't know what the person's problem was in the first place with the whole thing, but I do know black and white. There are things far more important to be dealing with in the city, the Health Department and in the restaurant business. Foie gras is the lowest on the totem pole."

Tim Hadac, who you all remember from the other parts of this series is a spokesman for the City Health Department, said that this complaint means that they will be sending a letter to Block 44 to remind them of the law and let them know they expect compliance with it. "If we get a second complaint, we'll be out there, ticket book in hand. If we find a violation if and when we inspect, we'll write 'em a ticket for $250," he said.

Yea. We'll be waiting. We're certainly shaking in our hypothetical boots as it is.

Stay tuned for more in the Chicago vs. PETA series - a series we wouldn't have had in the first place if it weren't for PETA sticking its nose in YOUR dinner plate.

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